By Mohammad Sadat Khansari
Iran’s terrorist actions aimed at the West have resumed in recent years, so at the end of 2018, Albania expelled the Iranian ambassador and another diplomat on the basis on national security.
The US praised Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama for this decision, with Donald Trump writing him a letter to thank him for countering Iran’s “destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents around the globe”.
The previous lull in Iran-sponsored terrorism in Europe was not down to a change in Iran’s behaviour or the appeasement policy adopted by the West. Instead, it was down to a firm, unified effort by European leaders following the assassination of Iranian Kurdish leaders in Berlin in 1997. Europe summoned the Iranian ambassadors and warned them against that kind of behaviour again. But make no mistake, just because Iranian terrorism in Europe lulled, that doesn’t mean that Iran did not continue its terrorist attacks on its enemies in other countries across the Middle East.
And now, thanks to a failed appeasement policy and significantly less pressure on Iran in recent years, the Iranian Regime turned its attention back to Europe in the mid to late 2010s.
In March 2018, the Regime and its terrorist diplomats tried to bomb an Iranian New Year gathering held by the Iranian Resistance in Albania, where roughly 3,000 members fled to escape the Regime’s persecution. This was the main reason behind Albania’s decision to expel the ambassador and another diplomat.
In June, the Regime tried to bomb an Iranian resistance gathering in France, which was attended by 100,000 people, and four people, including Iranian diplomat to Vienna Asdallah Asadi, were arrested. This also resulted in France expelling an Iranian diplomat.
Soon after, we found out that Iran was also plotting attacks or assassinations in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg and Norway. It is believed that the deteriorating economic situation and nationwide anti-regime protests inside Iran are causing the mullahs to lash out in an attempt to seem strong, especially given that the Regime’ suppressive measures have failed to stop the uprising.
So how is Europe handling the Iranian terrorism crisis? With kid gloves. There have been few outright condemnations and laughably few sanctions. Even those imposed by the EU were so narrow that they were more a political statement than any kind of action.
The problem is that Europe is failing to recognise that there is no distinction between hardliners and moderates in Iran, so appeasement will never change behaviour.
Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Algeria, wrote: “As someone who dealt with Iranian terrorism in my country, first hand and up close, I believe that any serious policy towards fighting international terrorism begins with the recognition that the Iranian regime is never of two minds about terrorism. Seemingly contradictory statements are simply symptoms of a power struggle. It remains necessary to expel all terrorists who carry out the regime’s agenda under diplomatic cover, regardless of which faction they may belong to.”